Covid-19 Accelerated AI Use By Companies Across The US.

The Covid-19 pandemic was devastating for many industries, but it only accelerated the use of artificial intelligence across the U.S. economy. Amid the crisis, companies scrambled to create new services for remote workers and students, beef up online shopping and dining options, make customer call centers more efficient and speed development of important new drugs. 

Forbes partnered with venture firms Sequoia Capital and Meritech Capital to create their third annual AI 50, a list of private, promising North American companies that are using artificial intelligence in ways that are fundamental to their operations. To be considered, businesses must be privately-held and utilizing machine learning (where systems learn from data to improve on tasks), natural language processing (which enables programs to “understand” written or spoken language) or computer vision (which relates to how machines “see”). AI companies incubated at, largely funded through or acquired by large tech, manufacturing or industrial firms aren’t eligible for consideration.

Companies to watch: https://www.forbes.com/video/6250063173001/

This 2021 list features 31 companies appearing for the first time, while seven have qualified for three years in a row. In terms of valuation, at least 13 of the AI 50 are valued at $100 million or less, while 13 are unicorns valued at $1 billion or more. Silicon Valley remains the hub for AI startups, with 37 of 50 honorees coming from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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